It’s 1996, and Reacher is still in the army. In the morning they give him a medal, and in the afternoon they send him back to school. That night he’s off the grid. Out of sight, out of mind.
Two other men are in the classroom—an FBI agent and a CIA analyst. Each is a first-rate operator, each is fresh off a big win, and each is wondering what the hell they are doing there.
Then they find out: A Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany, has received an unexpected visitor—a Saudi courier, seeking safe haven while waiting to rendezvous with persons unknown. A CIA asset, undercover inside the cell, has overheard the courier whisper a chilling message: “The American wants a hundred million dollars.”
For what? And who from? Reacher and his two new friends are told to find the American. Reacher recruits the best soldier he has ever worked with: Sergeant Frances Neagley. Their mission heats up in more ways than one, while always keeping their eyes on the prize: If they don’t get their man, the world will suffer an epic act of terrorism.
From Langley to Hamburg, Jalalabad to Kiev, Night School moves like a bullet through a treacherous landscape of double crosses, faked identities, and new and terrible enemies, as Reacher maneuvers inside the game and outside the law.
Many thanks to NetGalley for this review copy!
This is Jack Reacher’s 21st outing, and it’s a throwback this time. He is teamed up with Sgt Frances Neagley to try to figure out what a cryptic message (“The American wants a hundred million dollars”) means. Fans of Reacher will know what happens: he is perspicacious enough to figure out clues, he vanquishes bad guys with a sharp elbow to the head, and is quietly sexy to certain women. Nothing new here.
As much as I love a great Reacher story, this one seemed a bit dry.
There wasn’t enough real action and there was too much switching back and forth from one criminal cell to another. Somehow the subplots and double crosses were overly complicated to me, and it was hard to keep track of who was double crossing who.
I also found it inconceivable that Reacher was making such mental leaps to connect certain dots. There was a CIA agent that seemed superfluous, and an FBI agent that was only minimal help. There was no real sense of true struggle or suspense throughout the book; I was merely curious what the hundred million dollars was going towards. Once that came to light, probably about 80% of the way through, then I became interested in the outcome.
Remember the scene from The Matrix when Neo finally realizes he is The One, and is fighting Agent Smith with one hand while Smith ineffectually flails about? Neo is calmly standing there using one hand, countering and blocking everything Smith throws at him. That is what I was thinking of as I read NIGHT SCHOOL. Reacher is Neo, phoning it in while other great minds drool and get in the way.
There is a saying: There is no bad pizza. Perhaps; it would then follow that there would be no bad Reacher books. I have yet to find one that I really hated, but this one was probably the biggest disappointment. The plot itself held promise to be a thriller, but Child took way too long to get to the meat of the story. There were sub plots, and meta-sub-plots and minimally described characters that didn’t hold my interest.
Perhaps if you read this without high expectations, you won’t be disappointed. All in all, it wasn’t a complete waste of my time (see pizza = Reacher above), but not the best use either.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can pick up your copy [easyazon_link identifier=”0804178801″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].